Sir William Allan

The visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to Hawthornden, 14 September 1842 (1844)

About this artwork

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited Hawthornden Castle in Midlothian on 14 September 1842, the last day of their first holiday in Scotland. The owners of the castle, the Walker Drummond family, were away from home and so the royal couple paid only a brief visit. The 23-year old queen was much impressed by the view of the river Esk, and afterwards the party explored the caves in the sandstone cliff, said to have once sheltered Robert the Bruce. Two years after the visit Sir William Allan painted this charming picture of the scene, presumably for the Drummonds. Typical of Allan’s romantic landscape painting, he exaggerated the height of the cliff and possibly the trees, with the result that the people – albeit a royal party – almost disappear in the grandeur of the natural scene.

  • title: The visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to Hawthornden, 14 September 1842
  • accession number: PG 2417
  • artist: Sir William AllanScottish (1782 - 1850)
  • depicted: Queen Victoria
  • gallery: Paxton House
  • object type: Painting
  • subject: Castles Rocks Royalty
  • medium: Oil on canvas
  • date created: 1844
  • measurements: 162.50 x 123.80 cm (framed: 174.2 x 137.7 x 5.50 cm)
  • credit line: Purchased 1977
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

Sir William Allan

Sir William Allan

Born in Edinburgh, Allan was apprenticed to a coach painter before studying at the Trustees' Academy in the city from 1799; David Wilkie was a fellow student and became a lifelong friend. Allan went to London in 1803 to continue his studies, possibly at the Royal Academy. In 1805 he went to Russia, where he was based until 1814, travelling widely in the region. On his return, he settled in Edinburgh where he painted scenes inspired by his travels as well as subjects from Scottish history and Sir Walter Scott's novels. He was appointed Master of the Trustees' Academy in 1826, elected President of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1838 and became the Queen's Limner for Scotland in 1841, the year he was knighted.